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Wagoner County Man Kidnapped And Forced Into Trunk

Posted: Updated:
Travis Puthoff, 24, of Nowata. Travis Puthoff, 24, of Nowata.
The trunk that Puthoff was forced into. The trunk that Puthoff was forced into.
WAGONER COUNTY, Oklahoma -

The Wagoner County Sheriff's Office tracked down a kidnapping victim who called 911 Monday morning, while locked in his car's trunk.

Sheriff Bob Colbert said the victim, 24-year-old Travis Puthoff of Nowata, picked up a hitchhiker in Nowata County at about 6 a.m.

Nowata County Sheriff Jim Hallett said Puthoff was headed north on U.S. Highway 169, going to work, when he picked up the hitchhiker 1.5 miles north of Nowata.

"He got in the vehicle and immediately pulled out a chrome-plated weapon, stuck it to my side and told me to drive," Puthoff said.

Puthoff turned around to go south on 169, then east on Highway 60 to Big Cabin and finally south on Highway 69.

Just south of Wagoner, the suspect ordered Puthoff to pull over and get out of the car.

"I thought he was going to get me out and shoot me. I thought it was over," Puthoff said.

Instead, Puthoff said the man ordered him to get into the trunk.

Puthoff said he never thought his 6-foot-4 frame could fold up into the trunk of his car.

"I was shaking. I was sweating. it was hard to focus. It was hard to breathe," Puthoff said.

Puthoff said it was the wildest ride he's ever been on.

"He tossed in my cell phone and asked — for a few minutes to get out of sight, was his exact words," Puthoff said.

The hitchhiker then drove three more miles before abandoning the car. That's when Puthoff called 911.

Sheriff Bob Colbert says deputies used the cell phone ping to locate Puthoff, who was still in the trunk. He said Monday's high temperatures were a concern when they found Puthoff at 8:41 a.m.

A K-9 officer tracked the suspect back to U.S. Highway 69 before losing the trail.

Colbert says the suspect is either an Hispanic or American Indian male, 6-foot tall, with brown or black hair, medium build, wearing a tan T-shirt, gray cargo-type shorts, fanny pack, white socks, and tennis shoes.

The Nowata County Sheriff's Office and the Wagoner County Sheriff's Office are working together on this case.

Puthoff said the suspect didn't steal anything but his peace of mind.

"I don't care if it's raining and there's lightning coming down, if you're on the side of the road, you are out of luck," Puthoff said.

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